How to Use a Bitcoin Blockchain Explorer?
When you start your sojourn into Bitcoin, one of the first things you may come across is the explorer. Now, coupled with the complex name, and the fact that it sounds like the slowest internet browser in the world, you may find navigating it a tad confusing.
That is not at all an issue, seeing that it is the first time you are coming across it. However, learning how it works is inevitable because you will encounter it a lot as your sojourn continues, and more importantly, you will need it a lot.
Before we get into learning how it works, first...
What is a Blockchain Explorer
The Blockchain explorer is an application that enables you to search for the transaction data on BTC blockchain and Bitcoin Cash. It is somewhat like a search engine, but for just Bitcoin Blockchain and Bitcoin cash. It shows the current and past condition of a blockchain, down to the balance, and the history of whatever transaction was involved.
The blockchain explorer solves this issue, by creating a free to all search platform, where you can just search out the transaction data and see if it happened or not, no need to swear that it did. If for some reason, a transaction did not go through or got stuck somewhere, the data on what happened and why can be searched out on the block explorer as well.
The Blockchain explorer makes use of a blockchain node and API to pull out data from a blockchain, then goes on to arrange it in a database, which can then be searched out by a user. More than showing you data on old and recent transactions, you can also be shown a live feed of mining going on, and all the data relating to that block. You can also find out the person or group who mined a particular block at a particular time, what block was mined first on a chain, and other information. There is a long list of things that can be explored using the blockchain explorer.
How Does a Block Explorer Work?
The block explorer works according to a sequential movement starting with the blockchain node. If we are talking technicalities, this is how it works: First, the draws out recent data from the blockchain, then the database software available arranges the information gotten from the blockchain into tables and formats that are searchable. A web page is then created by the user interface server for the explorer, this allows search inputs for the user. Conversion into a machine-readable format is made by the API and the user interface server for the explorer. The user interface server for explorer then relays to the backend server. Each search request made by the user is responded to by the backend server, then relayed back to the user interface server, which again with the API converts it, this time to user-readable format, then delivers to the webpage. All of that happens in the seconds it takes for the transaction data to load on the web page after you have searched for your required keywords.
Of course, this is all just technicalities. Now to the basic part of this.
A database holds all the blockchain in a format that can be searched for, the explorer extracts this data using a node interface, then stores them in searchable tables.
All of the latest transactions on a blockchain is gathered by the block explorer as data, and then defined so that when you search, what you are looking for is delivered exactly.
There are many distribution nodes comprised in each blockchain. Each of these nodes can directly read the data on the blockchain accurately. Once activated by a search, all of these nodes immediately pull out the recent transactions done on a blockchain and every other relevant data to that search and deliver them to the database. The data is then arranged in tables where you can search them out with ease.
To effectively make use of a block explorer, all you have to do is search for keywords relating to the transaction you are looking for, and all the technicalities explained above will be spurred into action in milliseconds. You can either search for the block height/number, the transaction hash/ID, the wallet address, or the Bitcoin name. Either of these keywords would give you all the data required on a specific blockchain as is related to the keyword. A rule of thumb with transaction IDs and wallet addresses is to do a complete copy and paste, to reduce your chances of unnecessary mistakes.
It is imperative that you understand how a block explorer works, especially as it is very important in trading in Bitcoin. At least, you know now that if someone told you that they paid you, you could search for the transaction, if there is no record of it, it never happened. More significantly is the part that you can see where a problem comes from if a transaction did not pull through by simply searching with keywords.
Definitely better than what traditional financial institutions are offering, no doubt. The block explorers work the same, and it doesn't really matter what blockchain you are working with. Think of this as a way to allay your fears with transactions.
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